Dirty Teaching – A Book Review by Sue Falch-Lovesey

31 May 2014 · 4 comments

in Book Reviews, Creative STAR Blurb

Post image for Dirty Teaching – A Book Review by Sue Falch-Lovesey

Dirty Teaching: A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors has finally gone to print. It will be published on June 19th. The online version will come out after that. I’d like to apologise publicly for such a string of delays. The decision to include photos and create a colourful book meant that it took longer than expected. However, I think it has been worthwhile and I hope readers will agree.

Sue Falch-Lovesey who is Head of Environmental and Outdoor Learning at Norfolk County Council  wrote a particularly detailed review that I felt merited a blog post in its own right. I hope it gives you a flavour of the book’s content…

Sue’s review:

Dirty Teaching provides so much more than practical outdoor learning ideas that can work in and beyond school grounds; it draws on Juliet’s extensive UK and international experiences to encourage refection, evaluation and an informed and thoughtful approach to evolving one’s practice.

Juliet understands teachers, believes in their creative abilities to adapt learning to individual needs and appreciates that children behave differently in the outdoors. She also believes that deep learning draws on authentic, meaningful and relevant experiences … enabled though trusting relationships.

The compelling way that Juliet leads us through; an overview of principles and practice; a host of wonderful activities; ideas for collaborative reflection and then tackles; concrete jungles; worries and fears; embedding outdoor learning and developing a whole school approach, shows that she fully appreciates the massive developmental continuum that exists in schools.

Dirty Teaching is a beautiful and useful book that incorporates photos, questions, helpful checklists and links to further reading and resources. The activity ideas are grouped as a number of themes that include; creating, construction, adventure, exploration and care. These are then helpfully cross-referenced to curriculum and topic areas, meaning that the book is as useful as a quick source of ideas as well as an enjoyable read for those who are committed to enabling enthralling long-term learning for their children!

In Dirty Teaching, Juliet’s personal philosophy shines through. She is positive, endlessly creative and, above all, inclusive in her approach. This book is certainly not just a book for the beginner, to whom it will be accessible, encouraging and informative, it will also be inspiring and stimulating to the experienced practitioner.


Other notes in no particular order

Dirty Teaching provides/shares:

  • A ‘love yourself’ guide and starting point to getting outdoors
  • Practical advice on issues that may present themselves as barriers
  • Tips on health and safety and balancing risks with benefits
  • Thinking about children who don’t want to go outside
  • Shares ways of working with children demonstrating challenging behaviour
  • Ideas about providing evidence and reassurance about the quality of the outcomes of outdoor learning
  • Inspiration for teachers to start using the outdoors… building on what is already there and on what a teacher already knows
  • Enables practitioners to develop more creative practice with confidence
  • Includes reflective quotes that capture the point
  • Explores research and thinks about why it is relevant to the practitioner
  • Emphasises the importance of soft skills like compassion, empathy, rights and responsibilities
  • Highlights the importance of teachers modelling appropriate behaviour and attitudes
  • Appreciates the importance of choice and for child-initiated and led play with no external goals or rewards
  • Recognises the unique opportunities provided by the weather, seasons, space /freedom and landscape to inspire children
  • Wonderful ways to integrate ICT to extend learning, from geocaching to digital trails and augmented reality!
  • Lovely creative and artistic  ideas – with a twist
  • Ideas for continuity, progression and differentiation
  • Philosophical perspectives – especially regards caring for nature; which looked deeply into the need for  mentors, positive relationships and modelling desirable behaviours

Further notes on Juliet:

  • Juliet has been one of the most go-for-it people I have ever known. Here she inspires others to do the same!
  • Brings lovely examples of her significant experience to bear
  • Gives us the courage to push beyond current boundaries and expectations to enable learning.. also the confidence to harness children’s energy and creativity
  • Captures the awe and wonder that is felt when teacher and learner feed off each other’s enthusiasm when immersed in an inspiring collaboration of teaching and learning… showing us that the opportunities are endless and that imagination leads to deep insights

A final note from Sue:

  • Orchestrating learning outdoors to meet the needs of our children is such an exciting area of work. The opportunities are endless, the learning and health benefits, profound. We just need to be informed, brave and know why it’s worth doing … I favour Juliet’s ‘action research’ approach as it embeds reflection, evaluation  and harnesses us with evidence for those times when belief is just not enough!


THANK YOU SUE – You’ve captured what the book is about very nicely.

If you wish to order a copy and prefer to use another online supplier, then try Hive if you live in the UK. For North American readers, Amazon.com stocks Dirty Teaching. Remember this book is aimed at educators who work with children aged 6-12 years. I’m still finding out how people who live in Australia and New Zealand can access a copy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share the knowledge...

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kierna May 31, 2014 at 08:56

Congratulations Juliet, I already know the wait will have been well worth it. I think I may have to encourage the main school to buy a copy! Well done & what a great review.


Juliet Robertson May 31, 2014 at 09:28

Thanks Kierna

I am looking forward to finally seeing my book in print. The Crown House publishing team have been positive, proactive and patient.

Best wishes


Lorraine Izzett May 31, 2014 at 20:48

What a wonderful review!! I’m so looking forward to reading this to develop my own practice and also encourage others to just go for it and try it!!!


Juliet Robertson July 4, 2014 at 22:04

Thanks Lorraine. I hope you enjoy the book.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: